Venus Williams Displays Her Interior Design Prowess In Chicago

May 10, 2018 2:05 am by admin
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Venus Williams Displays Her Interior Design Prowess In Chicago

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The V Suite living space designed by Williams at the new Hotel at Midtown.

Williams might have her hands full—in December, Forbes reported that Niido landed a $200 million investment from Brookfield Property Partners to develop several other locations. Niido CEO Harvey Hernandez has said that he hopes to have at least four locations open by the end of 2018. “Working on this revolutionary project has been an exciting challenge,” says Williams, who will design the amenities, shared spaces, interior finishes, and furnishings for each NiidoHome unit. V Starr is conceiving a design style that will work with future Niido locations as well, building a cohesive look and feel for the brand. Come Kissimmee’s opening, we hope for a design grand slam.

VW: A little-known fact about my sister Serena is that she is an artist. She paints great oversize abstracts that are very color-focused. One hangs in our conference room at V Starr. And I have a Henry Taylor piece in my home.

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She has four Olympic golds, been listed on Forbes’s Celebrity 100 and Power Women lists, and has a successful fashion label, Eleven. But tennis great Venus Williams is on our radar these days because of her design firm, V Starr Interiors. Her first project was a Miami condo for Carlos Boozer. After, she completed hospitality projects around Florida, too. But now, the firm’s work is expanding outside Williams’s home state. The newly renovated Midtown Athletic Club opens in Chicago August 1 featuring a tennis lounge by the V Starr team. After the Wimbledon finals, Williams squeezed in a conversational rally with us.

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While Airbnb is often seen at odds with landlords, Niido is designed to embrace the sharing economy—the communities encourage tenants to share their homes for up to 180 nights per year, and rooms feature keyless entry and lockable areas for residents to safely store their belongings when hosting guests. (Oh, and revenues will be shared between tenants and landlords.)

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ID: What are highlights of your spaces at the Midtown Athletic Club and the Hotel at Midtown?

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SofA building in Delray Beach, FL. Image courtesy of V Starr Interiors.

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V Starr has been tasked with designing the interiors of the new Niido complexes, the first of which is a 324-unit building in Kissimmee, Florida (near Orlando), slated to open in the first quarter of 2018. Common amenities like a pool, gym, concierge service, and game room are designed to attract visitors who want a more hotel-like experience.

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VW: I travel a lot, so I find inspiration in all the places I visit. Plus, tennis and design have similar challenges. Things move rapidly and you need to think on your feet, whether working with a new client or facing a new opponent on the court. And there’s a shared sense of camaraderie, whether working with my V Starr Interiors team or a doubles partner.

Tasked with creating a tennis lounge and a hotel suite for the club’s renovation, Williams brought her athletic prowess to the project. The lounge, which combines bright yellow and green tennis hues with sumptuous textures, is all about the post-workout rest and recovery process. Williams imbued the suite, which will be a hallmark of Midtown’s new 55-room boutique hotel, with the same spirit, using muted tones and luxe materials to evoke a sense of relaxation.

VW: Benjamin Moore’s Twilight Zone 2127-10. Since it’s both elegant and sultry, it can be a feature or a complement.

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Venus Williams: Growing up, my mom pushed me to explore my creative side. In 1999, I enrolled in fashion school and was immediately drawn in by all types of design. Interiors have always been my favorite.

Tennis champion? Check. Fashion designer? Check. Interior designer? Yes, that too. It seems everything Venus Williams touches can’t help but turn to gold. The tennis pro’s firm, V Starr Interiors, has released plans for its latest project: Chicago’s Midtown Athletic Club.

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This isn’t Williams’s first contact with Midtown: The tennis pro competed at the club early in her career as a tennis star. “I’ve always respected the Midtown Athletic Club, and it was meaningful to work with them in a new capacity, combining my passion for tennis with design and hospitality,” explained Williams in a release. The tennis lounge is slated to open this July, while the hotel is expected to open in October.

Venus Williams’ design for the tennis lounge at the Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago.

Though most known for her stardom on the court, Williams is a successful entrepreneur in the design world, having launched V Starr in 2002 and a fashion line a few years after. Her firm, which employs several staff designers in addition to Williams, recently conceived—in fitting fashion—a new tennis lounge at the Midtown Athletic Club in Chicago.

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VW: Dreamdays, which allows me track how long I’ve gone without sugar—I’m up to 68 days! Although I do love the juice bar at 1 Hotel South Beach…

Venus Williams is making headlines, and not just for her highly anticipated appearance at the Australian Open. The tennis pro’s firm, V Starr Interiors, just scored a big-time deal with Airbnb’s newest partner, Niido—the soon-to-be global apartment complexes launched in partnership with the home-sharing giant.

VW: In the tennis lounge, there are beautiful diagonal lines and striking shades of green and blue that together create energy. The V Suite is more relaxed. The pure white bedroom is like sleeping on a cloud! I competed at the club in 1997, so working with them again in this capacity has been surreal.

ID: Does being a professional athlete help you be a good designer?

ID: Speaking of NY, will we see you at the U.S. Open in August?

Botaniko luxury residential development in Weston, FL. Image courtesy of V Starr Interiors.

VW: Residential projects in Austin and Florida and the Waterstone Resort & Marina Boca Raton. And two projects in New York, one a residential building in Harlem, of which a percentage of the units will be affordable housing.

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The Manor Lauderdale by the Sea. Image courtesy of V Starr Interiors.

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